December 22, 2008
MPBN Threatens Service Cuts
Barring some sort of massive breaking news, this will
be our last regular issue of NERW for 2008. Check back next Monday,
Dec. 29, for NERW's action-packed 2008 Year in Review edition,
complete with a brand-new Year-End Rant. And if you don't
find a 2009 Tower Site Calendar under your tree/menorah/Blaw-Knox
tower in a few days, we've still got plenty of them for you at
our Fybush.com Store.
A very merry Christmas, happy Chanukah, festive Kwanzaa,
satisfactory Festivus or celebratory Armstrong's Birthday to
you, and a happy New Year, too...and now, the news goes on...
*Public radio listeners in northern
and eastern MAINE are about to lose service, if MPBN (Maine
Public Broadcasting Network) follows through on its threat to
close its transmitter sites in Calais and Fort Kent to help balance
a budget that's battered by funding cuts and the overall economic
what it says is an attempt to balance harsh financial realities
with the need to continue to produce local programming, MPBN
announced last week that it plans to cut $900,000 from its budget
over the remainder of this fiscal year, eliminating eight jobs
(out of a total employment of 86), signing off its TV network
during overnight hours - and taking WMEF (106.5 Fort Kent), WMED
(89.7 Calais) and WMED-DT (Channel 10) in Calais silent until
at least the start of the next fiscal year on July 1.
If the transmitters are shut down, MPBN will lose coverage
of some of the most remote parts of the state, the far north
and Down East areas that already live at a huge remove from the
state's centers of population, finance and government to the
south. Fort Kent listeners will still have a fringe signal from
MPBN's powerful Presque Isle transmitter, WMEM (106.1) - but
in Calais, two hours east of Bangor, the only access to MPBN
signals will be via streaming audio for radio and cable or satellite
for TV. (There's an impact on emergency communications, too,
since MPBN's radio network is the state's primary EAS backbone.)
Predictably, the move has prompted an outcry from listeners
and viewers complaining that they're being sacrificed for the
benefit of southern Maine. And even more predictably, the state's
politicians quickly began weighing in.
"We cant be leaving out any part of Maine in terms
of access to this source of news, entertainment, and communications,
governor John Baldacci
told the network's news department on Friday, promising to
try to find "a strategy" to save the service to Calais
and Fort Kent. (And leading NERW to wonder if that wasn't part
of MPBN's own strategy all along...)
In other Pine Tree State news, Light of Life Ministries will
be adding another signal: it's been granted a CP for 89.3 in
Benedicta, a dot on the road just off I-95 about 15 miles northeast
of Millinocket. Light of Life's application for 91.5 in Fryeburg
has also been accepted for filing at the FCC.
Meanwhile in Corinth, about 15 miles northwest of Bangor,
The Positive Radio Project has been granted a CP for 90.3.
SEE THAT 2008 CALENDAR ON
THE WALL? IT WILL BE OBSOLETE BEFORE YOUR ANALOG TV SET IS...
And while we don't have a government coupon program
to bail you out, we have an excellent, and equally inexpensive,
Replace that soon-to-be-historic 2008 model
with the brand new 2009 Tower Site Calendar before
the new year arrives!
now at the fybush.com Store!
*It was, at last, a quiet week in NEW
YORK - which had to come as a relief to those broadcasters
who haven't been hit by the layoff axe that's been swinging with
abandon in recent months.
the two on-air talents who left the Big Apple's radio airwaves
this week did so voluntarily: Ian Camfield is departing the struggling
"K-Rock" (WXRK 92.3) to return to his native England
and his old on-air home, Xfm in London; Chris Carlin, meanwhile,
is reportedly leaving sister station WFAN (660) for a new on-air
gig at the Mets' TV home, SNY.
Over at Citadel's WABC (770), where MSNBC morning host Joe
Scarborough and his co-host Mika Brzezinski are settling in as
10-11:45 AM hosts, observant listeners are noticing a new on-air
sound: the talk station has a new imaging package created by
Southern California imaging guru Ray Avila. WABC's own production
director, the legendary Johnny Donovan, remains at the station
even though his voice is no longer being heard in most of the
imaging. (Gone, too, are most of the station's subtle imaging
reminders of its old Musicradio jingles...)
There's a new addition to the ever-growing WAMC family of
stations: the Albany-based public broadcaster has filed for a
license to cover for the new WRUN-FM (90.3 Remsen), rimshotting
Utica from the north.
In Bath, WABH (1380) has completed its power increase: it's
now cranking out 10 kW by day from its three-tower array right
next to I-86.
The co-founder of Woodstock's WDST (100.1) has died. Jerry
Gillman put the station on the air in 1980, a decade after he
and his wife, Sasha, moved to the area and found, to their surprise,
that Woodstock lacked a local radio voice. Gillman sold WDST
in 1987, but had remained active in local politics. He was diagnosed
with cancer last year, and died on Wednesday (Dec. 17) at age
*How about a good news story, for a change?
We find one in eastern MASSACHUSETTS, where two broadcasting
veterans are unwrapping the gift every radio person dreams of:
their own radio station. It's WNBP (1450 Newburyport), which
is changing hands from Todd Tanger's Westport Communications
to a new company called Port Broadcasting. It's headed by Carl
Strube, who owned WJTO in Bath, Maine (and worked at stations
such as WLOB, WGAN and WJAB) before moving into the music industry,
and by veteran programmer Pete Falconi, who most recently occupied
the PD chair at WODS in Boston.
Along with local
businessman Robert Couture, Strube and Falconi say they intend
to continue WNBP's long tradition as a community radio voice.
Once the deal closes next year, they plan to move WNBP's studios
from Beverly, where it now shares space with Tanger's WBOQ (104.9
Gloucester), back to Newburyport.
(This is not the first time WNBP has been in the hands of
a former air talent, by the way: Tanger bought the station in
2004 from Bob Fuller, who was still in high school when he signed
the station on back in 1957, when it was a daytimer on 1470.)
In Boston, Greater Media moved quickly to name a replacement
for market manager Phil Redo. It's bringing Tom Baker back to
the market, where he spent many years with WRKO and eventually
became operations manager for Entercom's Boston cluster. Baker
had most recently been interim market manager at Greater's Detroit
stations after spending a few years with Clear Channel in Santa
Why leave sunny southern California for icy (at the moment,
very icy) New England? Baker, 66, recently became a grandfather,
and his family is still in the Northeast.
last remaining on-air link to WCVB (Channel 5)'s first days on
the air won't be around when the station celebrates its 37th
anniversary next March. Unlike much of the initial WCVB airstaff,
Boyd didn't come to the new channel 5 from its predecessor on
the channel, WHDH-TV; he had been with New York's WNET, producing
a show called "News in Perspective," when he was hired
as a reporter for the Boston startup.
Over the years, Boyd did just about everything at Channel
5, with prominent anchor-desk assignments that included many
years on the morning "Eye-Opener" and the noon newscasts.
In 2006, he became only the third WCVB reporter to be named "special
Now 66, Boyd (who's married to former WCVB senior producer
Linda Polach) announced his retirement to fellow staffers on
Thursday; it will take effect at year's end.
Meanwhile across town at WBZ-TV (Channel 4)/WSBK (Channel
38), the search for a new news director is once again underway.
Jeff Kiernan, who came to the CBS stations from sister station
WCCO-TV (Channel 4) in Minneapolis just over a year ago, is on
his way back to his native Chicago to take the ND reins at a
station even more troubled than WBZ has been in recent years.
As news director of WBBM-TV (Channel 2), he'll be charged with
turning around a station whose news offerings are often last
among the market's big stations, and where morale has been low
to boot. Despite (or perhaps as a result of) massive staffing
changes not long after his arrival at WBZ, Kiernan oversaw ratings
successes that included a move from third to first at 11 PM.
The "mainstream" media finally took notice of the
disappearance of the analog signal at Fox's WFXT (Channel 25)
last week, as Boston Globe tech writer Hiawatha Bray looked
into the story last
Wednesday. Bray quotes WFXT GM Gregg Kelley as saying that
antenna problems have forced the station "to sharply reduce
its broadcasting power" - but when even viewers in Needham,
within sight of the tower, can't see the signal, can it really
be said to still be on the air at all?
Still on the air, but with reduced staff, is Boston's public
broadcaster, WGBH. It's blaming the poor economy for cuts that
will eliminate a dozen jobs in the next few weeks. No on-air
talent is expected to be eliminated, the station says.
Edited by NERW's own Scott Fybush - on sale now as
an e-book or printed volume!
another translator new to the RHODE ISLAND airwaves: W229AN
(93.7 Providence) is now on the air from a short pole attached
to the side of the studio building of WSTL (1220 Providence),
which it's simulcasting; we hear the signal isn't getting out
very well beyond the immediate area.
*There's a new construction permit granted
in VERMONT: Northeast Gospel Broadcasting (the same folks
who own WNGN 91.9 across the state line in Fort Ann, NY) have
been granted a new signal on 89.9 in Swanton.
*NEW HAMPSHIRE - and much of the rest
of central New England - continues to recover from the ice storm
that downed trees and power lines all over the region.
of the signals that were silenced by the storm are back on the
air, but not without a lot of hard work by engineering crews.
Here's just one example: Dirk Nadon, regional engineering director
for Nassau, sent along this photo of the access road (or in this
case, lack thereof) to the WFNQ (106.3 Nashua) site, where the
power was out for 10 days. Nadon says of Nassau's nine transmitter
sites in the New Hampshire cluster, seven of them were running
on generator power for four days or more.
One station that remains silent in the Granite State, though
not because of storm damage, is Dartmouth College's WDCR (1340
Hanover). The venerable AM signal was knocked off the air over
the summer after its ground system was damaged by nearby construction,
and it filed back in late September for special temporary authority
to remain silent while Dartmouth "evaluates" its options.
But WDCR's website, while
still carrying a "WDCR 1340" logo at the top of each
page, is now boasting that the station "is now broadcast
solely over the Internet," and that it has "completed
the process" of transitioning from on-air to web-only -
so if the AM signal does return, might it be carrying something
other than student-produced programming? Stay tuned...
*Rush Limbaugh is off the air in northwestern
PENNSYLVANIA. Connoisseur Communications talker WJET (1400
Erie) says the rights fees being charged by syndicator Premiere
were getting to be too high, and faced with the choice between
continuing to pay for the Limbaugh show or keeping local staffers
in place, WJET chose the local staffers. Dennis Miller replaces
Limbaugh in the noon timeslot.
in Pittsburgh, KDKA (1020) has revamped its schedule, moving
Fred Honsberger into the 12-3 PM slot that had been occupied
for the last year and a half by Kevin Miller. Miller's out as
part of the schedule changes, which expand the afternoon news
block to 3-6 PM, followed by the return of former KD host Mike
Pintek for the 6-10 PM slot, which knocks John Steigerwald off
the lineup at KDKA after a year or so.
Some callsign news: When Harrisburg's WITF signs on its new
93.3 signal from Chambersburg (the relocated former WROG 102.9
from Cumberland, Maryland), it will have new calls WYPM. Telikoja
Educational Broadcasting's new 91.7 in Laporte has been granted
the calls WEVP. And that LPFM in Gap on 92.9? It's not going
to use the requested new calls WRLY-LP after all, instead remaining
WLRI-LP (though it's still apparently silent, anyway.)
*The noncommercial FM dial in NEW JERSEY
is about to get a bit more crowded. The FCC has tentatively
selected WYRS Broadcasting's application for 91.7 in Lakehurst
over six other applicants in Lakehurst, Roosevelt, New Egypt,
Hightstown and Princeton.
Meanwhile in Princeton, after popping on and off the air intermittently
for a few weeks, we hear WHWH (1350) is once again back up and
running with the automated "Radio TED" variety format.
*One of CANADA's most important broadcasting
sites is under attack by the neighbors.
For well over half
a century, Mont-Royal has been the home for almost all of Montreal's
TV and FM signals, and with good reason - rising some 700 feet
above (and just north of) downtown Montreal, surrounded by city
neighborhoods on all sides, the mountain is the only spot that
provides an unshadowed signal into the entire city. But it's
also a public park, and one that was recently designated an "historic
and natural" area.
So with Radio-Canada/CBC's ten-year lease of the tower site
up for renewal, neighbors came looking for some changes. Last
week, a city review committee recommended that the lease be renewed
for just five years (at a starting cost of C$500,000 a year),
with a five-year extension contingent on the release of three
studies on the possibility of camouflaging or even relocating
Would Montreal's TV and FM dial really be compelled to move
somewhere else? It seems unlikely...but we'll be following this
story closely, just in case.
In eastern Quebec, the move to FM is now underway at CHNC
(610 New Carlisle) and CHGM (1150 Gaspe). The stations are now
testing the five FM signals that will replace the venerable AM
outlets: 107.1 in New Carlisle, with 6 kW DA/169 m; 99.3 in Gaspe,
with 468 watts DA/73 m; and relays on 99.1 in Carleton, 98.3
in Chandler and 107.3 in Perce.
The official flip to FM is set for tomorrow at 8:30 AM - which
is also the 75th anniversary of CHNC's 1933 debut.
There's an AM-to-FM flip now underway in Kitchener, Ontario,
too, where CKKW (1090) has begun testing its new FM signal at
99.5, with an official launch (and the start of the 90-day countdown
to the signoff of the powerful AM signal) coming after the first
of the year.
An hour to the east, there's a new AM signal on the air in
Toronto. Just as this issue of NERW was being completed, we heard
that there's testing now underway at CINA (1650 Mississauga),
a multi-cultural outlet that will focus most of its airtime on
Indian and Pakistani audiences.
And we've just learned of the death of one of Kingston, Ontario's
most prominent radio voices. Carl Cogan was a Detroit native
who spent his entire career in Canadian radio, starting as a
record librarian at Montreal's CFCF, then working at CJBQ in
Belleville before moving to CKWS (960) in Kingston in 1957 as
a DJ. Cogan eventually became CKWS radio's program director,
overseeing the flip of CKWS-FM (96.3) to country CFMK before
leaving the stations in 1981. Cogan, who also taught broadcasting
at St. Lawrence College and Loyalist College, died November 24
of Alzheimer's disease. He was 77.
the NERW Archives
(Yup, we've been doing this a long time now, and
so we're digging back into the vaults for a look at what NERW
was covering one, five and ten years ago this week, or thereabouts
- the column appeared on an erratic schedule in its earliest
years as "New England Radio Watch," and didn't go to
a regular weekly schedule until 1997. Thanks to LARadio.com
for the idea - and thanks to you, our readers, for the support
that's made all these years of NERW possible!)
December 24, 2007 -
- It's unusual to see one of NEW YORK's most aggressive public
broadcasters back down from a fight, but Albany's WAMC and its
outspoken leader, Alan Chartock, has withdrawn from what turned
out to be a high-profile battle over an open noncommercial frequency
up in Lake Placid. As we reported in our November 26 issue, WAMC
was one of three applicants for 91.7 there. That's a frequency
rival public broadcaster North Country Public Radio (WSLU 89.5
Canton) has been using for W219AK, a translator that's been operating
since 1993. North Country applied to use 91.7 for a full-power
signal, with 100 watts, and it fought hard to defend its frequency
once WAMC's rival application became public. In addition to newspaper
articles in the local paper and in the Albany Times-Union, North
Country held two "listener meet-ups" in Lake Placid
to rally support for its bid for the frequency.
- Late last week, WAMC backed down, reaching a deal to withdraw
its Lake Placid application in exchange for an agreement to acquire
the W219AK license if North Country is granted the full-power
facility. WAMC would seek to move W219AK to a new frequency in
order to bring its programming to the area. But North Country
isn't out of the woods yet - it still faces another rival for
91.7. Brian Larson's Northeast Gospel Broadcasting (WNGN 91.9
Argyle) also applied for a Lake Placid 91.7 signal, and it believes
it has the edge on the frequency. That's because of the way the
FCC decides between competing applications for noncommercial
frequencies: the point system favors applicants with fewer existing
signals (Northeast Gospel has only WNGN, while North Country
has seven), and it favors applicants whose proposals will cover
more land area and population, an edge that's likely to go to
Northeast Gospel's 8 kW application over North Country's 100-watt
- In MASSACHUSETTS, the talk-host chairs keep spinning at Entercom's
WRKO (680 Boston), where Reese Hopkins takes over the 10 AM-noon
slot that used to belong to Todd Feinburg. Hopkins had done some
fill-in for WRKO while Feinburg was covering Howie Carr's afternoon
shift; his last full-time radio job was a six-year stint as news
director/news anchor on the "Star and Buc Wild" morning
show in New York. He left the show in late 2005, before the show
was cancelled over Star's controversial statements. (Hopkins
also worked for Howard Stern's Sirius satellite channels for
- In northwest CONNECTICUT, Tri-State Educational Communications
becomes the first applicant in the region (and possibly in the
country) to get an actual construction permit out of October's
noncommercial application filing window. The new station on 91.9
in Sharon will take the calls WHDD-FM, as a sister station to
"Robin Hood Radio" WHDD (1020 Sharon).
- The year's wrapping up with two more changes in Hartford
radio. Clear Channel's "Radio 104" drops its previous
WPHH ("Power") calls and becomes WURH. And over at
Buckley's WDRC-FM (102.9), Jerry Kristafer is returning as morning
man on January 15, ten years after he was fired from his last
go-round there. Kristafer has been doing mornings at Clear Channel's
WELI (960 New Haven), and it's not at all clear who'll replace
him there. At WDRC, Kristafer replaces John "Cadillac"
Saville. The station says Kristafer's new show will include more
talk, and less music, than Saville's version did.
- In PENNSYLVANIA, things are slowly getting back to normal
after the storm that downed one TV tower and damaged several
others in Scranton a week ago. WNEP (Channel 16), whose analog
tower came down, crushing its analog transmitters, is working
to get a replacement analog signal on the air from the nearby
American Tower site that's home to its WNEP-DT (Channel 49) signal.
(WNEP is feeding area cable systems with a standard-definition
feed via the 16.3 channel of WNEP-DT.) Wilkes University's WCLH
(90.7 Wilkes-Barre), which lost its antenna that had been mounted
on the WNEP tower, is back on the air at low power from the college
campus, with plans to get back to full power soon from a different
tower on Penobscot Mountain.
December 22, 2003 -
- Ever since Clear Channel purchased Ackerley back in June
2002, the rumors have been floating around upstate NEW YORK that
the TV stations that came with the deal - a cluster of (mostly)
ABC affiliates in Syracuse, Watertown, Utica, Binghamton and
Rochester - would eventually be sold off. And, at least in the
case of Utica, that rumor turns out to be true. Clear Channel
announced on Thursday that it's selling Utica's WUTR (Channel
20) to Scranton-based Mission Broadcasting, a small TV group
that also owns Scranton's WYOU (Channel 22). Like WYOU, which
is operated under a shared services-and-sales agreement with
Nexstar's WBRE (Channel 28), WUTR is expected to end up operating
in tandem with Utica Fox affiliate WFXV (Channel 33), which Nexstar
recently acquired in its purchase of the Quorum group.
- Here's where things begin to get interesting: WUTR has had
only a minimal local news presence since August, when Clear Channel
fired most of its newsroom staffers, leaving just a skeleton
presence to supply Utica news to Syracuse's WIXT, whose newscasts
are now simulcast in Utica. WFXV, meanwhile, runs a 10 PM newscast
that's produced by the big NBC affiliate in the market, Smith
Broadcasting's WKTV (Channel 2). Will Nexstar launch a revived
news operation to service both the ABC and Fox affiliates? And
if it does, will WKTV then move its 10 PM newscast to its cable-only
WB outlet, "WBU"? (2008 update: No news at the Nexstar
duopoly, leaving WKTV as the only player, with a 10 PM on what's
now "CW Utica.")
- Speaking of Rochester, WBBF (93.3 Fairport), still stunting
with Christmas music, fired yet another DJ last week. After 19
years in Rochester radio, 11 of them at WBBF and its predecessor
WKLX, WBBF morning jock Mike Vickers is out the door at Entercom
- and pursuing full-time employment as a Regional Transit Service
bus driver, a job he'd been working part-time. The move leaves
just one jock at WBBF (afternoon guy Tom Noonan), and plenty
of questions about what will become of the oldies station after
- Nearly all of the city's commercial stations joined WCMF
(96.5 Rochester) in remembering "Unkle Roger" during
his funeral last week. The Entercom, Clear Channel and Infinity
stations, as well as locally-owned WDKX (103.9 Rochester), all
aired 30 seconds of silence in memory of Roger McCall, the veteran
overnight jock on WCMF, who was shot to death Dec. 12 as he collected
rent from a tenant on Rochester's Madison Street. So far, Rochester
police don't seem any closer to solving the crime; meanwhile,
WCMF took calls every night this past week from Unk's listeners
and friends and played them back during his regular overnight
shift. There's no word yet on whether anyone will replace him
on overnights at WCMF - by NERW's count, there's now only one
live overnight jock on Rochester commercial radio.
- Nassau Broadcasting is serious about its committment to MAINE
- just after announcing its $18.3 million purchase of Mariner
Broadcasting's six stations (NERW, 12/15), the New Jersey-based
company is also picking up the five radio stations of the WMTW
Broadcast Group. The WMTW stations are all clustered in and near
the Portland market: news-talk trimulcast WMTW (870 Gorham),
WMTW-FM (106.7 North Windham) and WLAM (1470 Lewiston), hot AC
WMEK (99.9 Auburn, with a Portland translator at 96.9) and country
WTHT (107.5 Lewiston); they add to a group that will also include
Portland-market WBQW (106.3 Scarborough) and FM outlets in the
Kennebunkport, mid-coast and Bangor areas.
- What's more, WMTW-TV (Channel 8) is reportedly also for sale,
and the leading potential buyer is said to be Hearst-Argyle,
for whom WMTW would be a nice link in the New England chain that
also includes Boston's WCVB, Manchester's WMUR and the Vermont
duo of WNNE/WPTZ. No purchase price has been announced yet for
the WMTW radio deal; we'd expect a slew of format changes once
Nassau closes on its various purchases, especially the WMTW news
trimulcast and the "W-Bach" classical stations from
- A fire last Monday just outside Dover, NEW HAMPSHIRE silenced
the state's newest LPFM station. WXGR-LP (101.5 Dover) had been
on the air less than a month from its small building at the Littlebrook
Airpark in Eliot, Maine when the fire destroyed the building
and all of the station's equipment within. "Gritty Radio"
didn't have insurance, so the entire operation - most of it paid
for out of the pockets of station founder Tom Hoyt and other
supporters - is a total loss.
- There's a new format on the north shore of MASSACHUSETTS
- WBOQ (104.9 Gloucester) dropped its standards/soft AC sound
this morning to relaunch as "North Shore 104.9," playing
60s and 70s oldies with a heavy dose of local news, sports and
events. WBOQ recently changed hands (within the Tanger family)
from Marlin Broadcasting to Westport Broadcasting, and the format
change seems poised to grab more than a handful of listeners
who are missing the oldies that have been temporarily replaced
on WODS (103.3 Boston) by Christmas music.
- Over in Philadelphia, some changes are on the way to nighttime
AM radio: WPHT (1210)'s Jeff Katz reportedly announced Friday
night that he's leaving "The Big Talker," where he's
been doing a 6-8 PM shift. Katz's departure moves Dom Giordano
(formerly heard from 8-10 PM) up to 6-9 PM and shifts both Bill
O'Reilly (formerly 10-midnight) and Rollye James (formerly midnight-3)
an hour earlier. Katz, whose resume includes a stop at Boston's
WRKO a few years back, was at the end of his contract and reportedly
wants a morning or afternoon drive slot as his next gig. (2008
update: Katz's next stop was indeed in afternoon drive, at WBT
Charlotte, which parted ways with him a few weeks ago)
December 26, 1998 -
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- When last week's NERW went to press, there were no urban-formatted
stations in NEW YORK's Capital District...but this week there
are two. The first to flip was WXLE (104.5 Mechanicville), which
dumped its month-old "Magic" AC format last Friday
to become "Jammin' Oldies," just like its Capstar/Chancellor
sister stations in Tampa, Dallas, Chicago, New York, and elsewhere.
So far, the new station is running jockless.
- Next to go was WPTR-FM (96.3 Voorheesville), which pulled
the plug on its low-rated hot country format to become "Jams
96-3," bringing Albany its first commercial outlet for hip-hop
and urban contemporary music. WPTR had been fighting a losing
battle against country giant WGNA (107.7/1460); will its relatively
weak signal be less of a drawback when it's the only station
in its format?
- New to the Empire State airwaves this week was WXXE (90.5
Fenner), the first outlet of Syracuse Community Radio, which
signed on for the first time at 3:07 PM on Monday (Dec. 21).
While the station is being heard in most of Madison County, it's
not much of a contender in Syracuse and Onondaga County just
yet, thanks to co-channel stations in Baldwinsville (high-school
outlet WBXL) and Rochester (WBER). WXXE put out e-mail this week
advising potential listeners of specific street corners in and
around Syracuse where the station is audible.
- WQEW (1560 New York) is clearly in the death throes of its
American Popular Standards format. No more jocks -- just taped
liners -- and almost every spot break includes plugs for other
area stations hoping for a piece of the audience. Among them:
standards WLUX (540 Islip), WHLI (1100 Hempstead), WLIM (1580
Patchogue), WMTR (1250 Morristown NJ), and WVNJ (1160 Oakland
NJ), plus public radio WNYC AM-FM (820/93.9), WFUV (90.7), and
even the business-news machine that is WBBR (1130), occupying
the dial position once held by the lamented WNEW (1130), the
granddaddy of the standards format. The end of the format comes
at midnight Sunday night, and of course we'll have tape rolling
(and tears in our eyes).
- On we move, to VERMONT, where WKDR (1390 Burlington) will
start the New Year preparing for new owners. The news-talker
had been operating under an LMA with Burlington Broadcasters
(WBTZ/WIZN), but when Burlington declined to exercise their option
to buy WKDR, owners Louie Manno, Jim Condon, and Mark Johnson
began offering the AM to other buyers. The winner -- for a reported
$475,000 -- is Ken Squier's Radio Vermont, which also owns WDEV
(550 Waterbury/96.1 Warren), classical WCVT (101.7 Stowe), and
country WLVB (93.9 Morrisville). It should be a good fit, since
both WKDR and WDEV are among the Green Mountain State's top radio
news operations. WKDR continued a holiday tradition this year
by broadcasting the Radio Yule Log all day Christmas, by the
- Does MASSACHUSETTS need another FM station in any of its
markets, especially Cape Cod? We wouldn't think so (especially
with that 102.3 in Truro that's still unbuilt), but it won't
stop the FCC from considering a proposal to allocate 104.3 to
West Tisbury as a class A allocation. (That's on Martha's Vineyard,
by the way).
- A tower grows in Newton Upper Falls: American Tower Systems
is planning to put up a new, taller tower next to the "FM128"
stick on Chestnut Street next spring. The new stick will be topped
with a candelabra and will carry antennas for several FM stations
(including the recently-moved WCRB) and DTV. (2008 update:
That proposed tower was never built, and FM128 still stands by
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2008 by Scott Fybush.